future of entertainment may not be in Hollywood, but in Massachusetts.
The MIT Media Lab announced this week that it is launching the Center
for Future Storytelling, a research program that will develop new
storytelling technologies. The team envisions a future that includes
robotic actors and improved motion capture, but also increased
democratization and participation, so that stories are told not just by
individuals, but by entire communities.
The Future for
Interactive Storytelling was founded by three members of MIT’s Media
Lab: V. Michael Bove Jr., who studies object-based media and
interactive television, Cynthia Breazeal, who works in personal
robotics and human-robot interaction, and Ramesh Raskar, who cultivates
new technologies in imaging, display, and performance capture.
Together, they are looking at how storytelling is changing and what it
is capable of in a world of advanced technologies and community
According to a release from the newly-formed group:
By applying leading-edge technologies to make stories
more interactive, improvisational and social, researchers will seek to
transform audiences into active participants in the storytelling
process, bridging the real and virtual worlds, and allowing everyone to
make their own unique stories with user-generated content on the Web.
Center research will also focus on ways to revolutionize imaging and
display technologies, including developing next-generation cameras and
programmable studios, making movie production more versatile and
Part of the lab’s work will involve creating more effective robotic
actors and improved blending of human and animated movement in motion
capture, but at the core of the project is finding new ways for stories
to become living, changing products of human interaction. Says Bove:
Imagine what people could do in storytelling if our
rooms and our furniture and our cars and our shoes and everything else
we interacted with could be collecting information as in a diary and we
could play that all back and use that as part of creating stories.
The Center’s work will not be merely theoretical. MIT is partnering
with Plymouth Rock Studios, which is planning to build a 14-soundstage
complex in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2010. The studio is looking to
produce traditional story-based productions, which it hopes will come
out of MIT’s research.